Tennesseans across the state gather to protest the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of refugees and immigrants at the border, especially children.
From the Tennessean today:
Gov. Bill Lee has proclaimed Saturday as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee, a day of observation to honor the former Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader whose bust is on display in the state Capitol.
Per state law, the Tennessee governor is tasked with issuing proclamations for six separate days of special observation, three of which, including the July 13 Forrest Day, pertain to the Confederacy.
There have been repeated protests of the bust of Forrest, the KKK’s first Grand Wizard, which is still featured prominently in the Tennessee state legislature to this day.
The Tennessean reports that Lee said “I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law.”
They also remind us that Lee was found to have worn confederate uniforms in college, which he now says he regrets:
Lee earlier this year said he regretted participating in “Old South” parties at Auburn University nearly four decades ago as part of Kappa Alpha Order, a fraternity that lists Robert E. Lee as its “spiritual founder.”
The governor, a college student at the time, was also pictured in an Auburn yearbook dressed in a Confederate Army uniform, a common practice for members of the fraternity at the time.
“I never intentionally acted in an insensitive way, but with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that participating in that was insensitive and I’ve come to regret it,” Lee said in February.
Lee has said he may be open to “adding context” to the statue rather than removing it, but has done nothing to pursue that.
Rep. Bob Freeman has proposed replacing it with a women’s suffrage statue, and has vowed to introduce that legislation in the next session.
In a story that has now made national news – picked up by Time, USA Today, Huffington Post and more – Cracker Barrel has made it clear that All Scripture Baptist Church, run by Pastor/Detective Grayson Fritts, would not be welcome at their establishment.
Fritts has called for the executions of LGBT people, and was forced into retirement from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department as a result.
The Cracker Barrel situation started with a Facebook post by All Scripture Baptist saying they would be heading to Cleveland, TN June 29th. The sharp eye of Blake Kitterman, a local resident, alerted us to the fact that the address on the post was in fact that of the Cracker Barrel in Cleveland.
We reached out to the Cracker Barrel to see if they knew anything about the event, and they told us they had heard of the post but were “blindsided” by it.
“All we do is feed people, we don’t do events,” the manager said. He clearly understood the seriousness of the situation, and gave us the number for Cracker Barrel’s national press relations.
Within hours, Cracker Barrel had issued an official statement saying they had no affiliation with Fritts and his church, and they would not be welcome to have an event at the restaurant.
We work hard every day to foster a culture that is welcoming and inclusive. We strongly disagree with Mr. Fritts’ statements of hate and divisiveness. Please see our full statement below. pic.twitter.com/kYc3fwm5kD
— Cracker Barrel (@CrackerBarrel) June 18, 2019
Cracker Barrel’s support for the LGBT community was immediately clear, which showed how far they have come since the early 1990’s, when their policies were discriminatory.
Many in the LGBT community were appreciative of their quick action, saying they’d be making sure to eat there and would visit the Cracker Barrel booth at the Pride event Nashville this weekend.
All Scripture’s response was to accuse Cracker Barrel of a “double standard”, as U.S. News tells us:
In response to Cracker Barrel’s statement, All Scripture Baptist Church said they were only going to Cracker Barrel for “meeting and eating” and called the restaurant chain hypocrites.
“If the ‘LGBT’ community hosted an event there and Christians complained they wouldn’t ban the ‘LGBT’ group, they would tell us they don’t ‘discriminate’ against anyone,” the church said in an emailed statement. “But hey, it’s their business. They can have a double standard if they want to.”
Having one standard for people who don’t call for the execution of an entire community of Americans, and one standard for those who DO, is a pretty decent way to operate.
Bravo, Cracker Barrel. Bravo.
“Those violent, hate-filled comments are not reflective of our people.”
On Monday, Sheriff Spangler of addressed the sermons of Detective Fritts calling for LGBT people to be executed.
Fritts was relieved of duty, not fired. He still gets monthly retirement pay.
The New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss says the Trump era holds many similarities with Senator Joe McCarthy’s 1950s Red-baiting period.
Maraniss, recently in Nashville on tour for his latest book, A Good American Family, discussed the comparison over coffee with The Tennessee Holler.
“There are obvious parallels (between Trump and McCarthy,)” said Maraniss, noting he started the book prior to Donald Trump’s 2016 election as president. “There’s the same use of fear as a political weapon and the demonization of outsiders as a tool.”
A Good American Family is a biography of sorts, with the focal point being the work of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in Detroit in 1952. One of the men called to testify on charges of being a Communist: Elliott Maraniss, David’s father.
Maraniss, only two years old at the time of the hearings, had no memory of the hearings but knew the experience shadowed the family’s history. The day Elliott Maraniss was issued a subpoena, he was fired from his job at the now-defunct Detroit Times. Thus began a five-year odyssey for the family, as Elliott moved about the Midwest, losing one job after another as part of a blacklist, before settling at the Capital Times in Madison, Wisc.
For Maraniss, the conundrum at the heart of the book is what it means to be American. How was his father, despite commanding an all-black company for the U.S. Army in World War II, considered ‘Un-American’? Or his uncle, Robert Adair Cummins, who fought against fascists in the Spanish Revolution, and also a HUAC target?
Both were active in the Michigan Communist Party of the 1930s and ’40s, but America was founded on the basis of free speech, a point Elliot made in the three-page statement he prepared for his HUAC testimony, a statement he wasn’t allowed to give and that Maraniss only found in the National Archives in 2015.
While McCarthy exploited Cold War-era fears about the USSR and the rise of Communism, Trump uses an older tactic to manipulate fear for his own gain.
“Race is at the center of American politics and always has been,” he says. “It’s always been easily manipulated and Trump very easily exploits that.”
“The concept of America and who is American . . . Who decides that? Native Americans weren’t American enough, blacks weren’t American enough,” said Maraniss.
(Meanwhile, Congressman George Stephens Wood, the chairman of HUAC — someone who, presumably, WAS American enough — was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his home state of Georgia and had been present at the lynching of Jewish businessman Leo Frank in 1915.)
As president, Trump is far worse than McCarthy, says Maraniss.
“There’s a huge difference between then and now: Trump has a lot more platforms and as president, a greater ability to disrupt the government.”
A Good American Family is Maraniss’ 12th book. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for his coverage of President Bill Clinton and again in 2007 as part of the Washington Post team that covered the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. He has also been a Pulitzer Prize finalist another three times, a writer and editor with the Post for more than 40 years, and a visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University.
Support local bookstores by purchasing A Good American Family at Parnassus Books in Green Hills or Landmark Booksellers in Franklin.
Cherish Hope Newman, niece of Knox County Sheriff’s Detective/Pastor Grayson Fritts – who has called for the mass execution of LGBT people – speaks out.
She says that side of her family is “mostly full of racist bigots”, she won’t stand by silently as her uncle tries to turn Christianity into ISIS, and that God is a “merciful and loving God” who does not “hate” anyone.
Comment on her YouTube video HERE.
First spotted on WVLT.
“I am not an anomaly… If they hate you it means you’re doing the right thing.”
On Wednesday, in his first appearance since becoming national news, Knox Detective/Pastor Fritts said he’s “not calling anyone to violence” – while reiterating his monstrous attacks on LGBT people and calling out fellow preachers as “weak” and “spineless” for not backing him up.
Knox Sheriff’s Detective/Pastor Fritts – who wants to execute LGBT people – says getting drunk & “committing” sodomy can be forgiven… Three’s Company & Bing Crosby were trying to desensitize us to sodomy… and we should tip LGBT people REALLY well.
Knox County Sheriffs Detective Grayson Fritts – also a pastor at All Scripture Baptist Church – calls for the government to arrest and execute LGBTQ People.
He’s now on paid sick leave until July 19, and no longer on active duty.
Here’s the original Knox News ARTICLE.
Watch some of his monstrous speech below… and if you think he should be fired altogether, email the Knox County D.A. HERE: DAG@knoxcounty.org